Stardate: 45494.2
Rating: **** 1/2

Edited Length: 45:29
U.S. Airdate: March 1, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.2/4]

This Episode was Nominated for Emmy(s)!

Guest Stars
Erich Anderson: [Commander Keiran MacDuff]
Michelle Forbes: [Ensign Ro Laren]

Co-Producer: Joe Menosky
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Producer: Herbert J. Wright
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay by: Barry Schkolnick
Story by: Paul Schiffer
Directed by: Les Landau

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss

Liz Vassey: Kristin
Erick Weiss: Crewman
Majel Barrett: Computer Voice


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Extended Synopsis (by Tim Lynch) ------------------------------------

The Enterprise is tracking some odd signals which could be a sign of intelligent life. Troi and Data are in Ten-Forward: Troi manages to beat Data at three-D chess and then coaxes Data into paying off his bet. Beverly, meanwhile, is examining a diver who missed a dive by a little too much. Riker and Ro, en route to the bridge, are arguing over innovative techniques and proper procedure. Once they arrive, a ship comes into range, and appears to be the origin of the signals. It's a one-man craft with minimal armament, so they hail it and keep shields down. The craft's scans then mimic an optical data reader and increase more than tenfold in power, so the shields go up.

Data, behind the bar, offers Troi her winnings: a Samarian Sunset [a drink], traditionally made. Suddenly, a green flash washes over Data, and then the rest of the crew in rapid succession. On the bridge, everyone seems oddly confused...and rightly so, for all have suddenly lost all memory of who they are!

They quickly realize that they're on a starship, and Ro (at helm..."Looks like I'm the pilot") finds that the helm is down. Riker and Worf examine tactical, which is also inoperative. Everyone's ability to do these things makes it clear that while their identities have vanished, their basic skills have not. Riker notes that Picard, with four pips, is probably the starship's leader, although Worf (also decorated, with the sash) points out that there are other possibilities. Picard, however, points out that who leads is unimportant right at the moment; the important thing is to find out their identities and mission. And, as an unidentified person in a commander's uniform points out, they need to know what happened to them, and how.

Geordi scans and finds traces of debris in front of the ship. Ro theorizes that perhaps that ship somehow attacked them and caused all this, and that return fire destroyed it. If so, Picard reasons, other damage might also have occurred; but unfortunately, he finds no way to interface with the computer at present. Geordi calls up general system directories and finds that communications are out, which destroys any chance of a distress signal. They decide to talk to the crew, hoping they have their memories-but they decide to do it carefully, as there may be a boarding party on board. Worf, taking charge, orders crewmembers to select a representative from each of their groups and report to the bridge that way, remaining calm.

In sickbay, we find Beverly and her patient equally affected. Bev's basic medical skills seem intact (she fixes her patient's arm without even thinking about it), but nothing else-and the patient's even worse off, having no visible clues to what she does. ("I'm a patient in a bathing suit. That doesn't say much.") The eventual report to the bridge is that everyone's been similarly affected.

Worf, in the command chair, gives a rundown of their tactical capability, and concludes from their formidable armament that they're a battleship. Ro decides to go to Engineering to try to restore systems; and after Riker stops her from dashing off half-cocked, they and Geordi all go down (after receiving permission from Apparent Captain Worf).

Geordi and Ro make rapid progress. Riker suggests Geordi get essential systems control back up to the bridge [first priority being weapons, propulsion, and shields, second being personnel files], while he and Ro survey the personnel decks to see if everyone's all right.

Picard and the unnamed commander report to Worf that there have been no apparent injuries or deaths, and that all the systems are starting to come back. Worf says that combat-readiness is top priority, and rejects Picard's suggestion that the ship's logs are just as if not more important. The systems come back on line. "Now, we are ready." "The question is, for what?"

After a test of tactical systems reveals no problems at all, Picard suggests a full diagnostic of command systems. Worf initially objects, but when the unnamed commander agrees with Picard that damage may still be present, agrees. (Beverly's need for normal brainscans to compare to current ones, i.e. medical records, is given next highest priority.)

Riker and Ro finish deck ten and head for Ten- Forward, engaging in a little flirtatious bantering along the way. When they get there, they talk to the group's representative (Deanna), who tells them of two anomalies. First, the bartender is an artificial lifeform (Data); and second, she can sense strong emotions while the others cannot. She senses something vaguely familiar about Riker...but then Worf calls down to tell Riker and Ro that they've finally accessed the personnel files.

The biographical sketches are out of reach, but the crew manifest is there. The positions are as one would expect, except that Will Riker is now second officer, with the first officer being the heretofore unnamed commander, Commander Keiran MacDuff. Picard orders the rest of the bridge crew to the bridge, and tells an apologetic Worf to think nothing of his brusque behavior earlier.

A bit later, the crew has a conference. They've discovered their situation. The ship is called the Enterprise, they're all in the United Federation of Planets, and the Federation has been at war with the Lysian Alliance for years. It's likely that a new Lysian weapon, which has already resulted in the capture of over a dozen Federation ships, is responsible for what happened to them, and that it's turning the tide of the war. Their mission is to enter Lysian space and destroy the Lysian central command. Troi, disturbed by the violent nature of the orders, suggests confirmation with Starfleet; but Geordi and Worf hasten to point out that their orders include radio silence, and that any attempt to communicate with Starfleet would result in them being detected and stopped, thus jeopardizing not only their own safety, but that of all the other ships on other frontiers assisting in portions of this endeavor. Picard, faced with little choice, orders a course to the Lysian central command. Riker shows Troi to her quarters, where she invites him in. She tells him that the war simply feels wrong to her, but acknowledges that war is likely to feel wrong in all cases. She again senses something familiar about Riker, and links it to past, pleasant emotions. Unnerved by the events of the day, however, she backs off, and Riker bids her good night. He returns to his quarters, only to find Ro there, dressed for bed. She tells him that "for all we know, we could be married," and suggests that they see where things lead them. "What if I snore in my sleep?" "What makes you think you're going to get any sleep?"

Later, the Lysian border is crossed, and 37 hours remain until they reach the central command. A vessel identified as a Lysian destroyer lies ahead, but scans show it to be negligibly shielded and poorly armed. The destroyer hails them, but before Picard can respond, MacDuff argues against it, saying first that their orders are to destroy all enemy ships, and second that it's quite possible the new Lysian weapon is transmitted via communications channels. Before Picard can decide what to do, the destroyer gives up its attempts at hailing and powers up its weapons. It fires, and the Enterprise responds, blowing the ship to bits. MacDuff is pleased, but Picard remains uncertain...

At a conference, Ro then recommends a randomly oriented approach to the central command in an effort to shake off whatever Lysian pursuit there may be. Beverly points out that there are techniques which may restore their memory, but that without the medical records it could be very hazardous to try. Geordi and Data renew their efforts at locating the records (speculating simultaneously on Data's origins; why is he the only one among the crew?), and finally break through to the relevant section. They find, however, that the mission reports, the crew recordings, the personal logs and the medical logs are all gone. In short, everything that could possibly give them a clue to who they are is missing.

Troi, meanwhile, visits Riker in his quarters, feeling restless and claiming that everything feels wrong to her. Riker, to put her at ease, starts talking about what he's found out about himself: his trombone [which he appears to play better than he did before] shows he's musical, a souvenir from "a place called Alaska" shows that he's athletically inclined and interested in mountain climbing, he's interested in exotic food, and "I vacation on a planet called Risa," as the horgon makes clear. Troi notices a book, and opens it to read a dedication: "To Will. All my love, Deanna." This, as Riker points out, may explain the familiar feelings she's been having. Suddenly, Ro walks in. Troi and Riker insist nothing was being interrupted, and a somewhat flustered Troi beats a hasty retreat. Ro asks if Riker's sure nothing was going on, because "I have a feeling that I used to be the jealous type."

Geordi tells the others of just how specific and selective the damage to the computer was, but MacDuff points out that it is consistent with the information they have on the Lysian weapon. Beverly says that she could try the procedure without the records, but it would be dangerous; and MacDuff hastily volunteers for the process. Unfortunately, he appears to go into convulsions early on: the process is too dangerous, and isn't making any progress. Beverly concludes she's back to square one.

Picard and MacDuff talk about the mission. Picard is concerned about the utter lack of corroborative evidence, and the circumstantial evidence against their orders (namely the lackluster Lysian ship). He compares their situation to being "handed a weapon, taken into a room, and told to shoot a stranger", and says he simply can't do it without some moral context. MacDuff agrees that it would be nice if "all the questions were answered," but points out in return that Picard may, simply due to his own moral discomfort, end up prolonging a war and causing thousands of deaths on both sides. Picard broods.

MacDuff, meanwhile, calls Worf to his quarters. When Worf arrives, MacDuff appeals to him as another person "born to combat"; in short, as a fellow warrior. He says that their skills make them uniquely qualified for the battle ahead, and implies that Picard's wavering on the issue may force them to take matters into their own hands. The mission must, after all, succeed.

The Enterprise finally enters the Lysian system, and sails through a barrage of sentry pods with negligible effort. Riker immediately points out that it seemed too easy, but agrees that no battleships have been seen yet. They reach the central command, and find no vessels arrayed to defend it, minimal defenses (a single photon torpedo could destroy it), and over fifteen thousand people on board.

Picard orders a standby. Troi claims it all is simply wrong, Riker points out that the Federation's mortal enemies can't be that far behind in weapons technology, and MacDuff argues that others are depending on them, that they must attack, and attack now. Picard decides otherwise. "I shall not fire on defenseless people." He orders a channel open-and MacDuff belays it. He claims that something is wrong with Picard, claims command, and orders Worf to fire. Worf refuses, but when he tries to prevent MacDuff from doing so, MacDuff tosses him aside easily. Riker and Worf fire on MacDuff, stunning him and revealing him as something not human at all!

Some time later, with the crew's memories restored, he Lysians identify "MacDuff" as a Suttaran, the Lysians' true enemies and their equal in weapons technology. "MacDuff" attempted to use the Enterprise to end his race's war in one swift stroke, and almost succeeded. Picard expresses deep regrets to the Lysians for what has happened, and Riker tries to deal with the aftermath of his abortive romances with Troi and Ro, only to find the two of them together, and seemingly perfectly accepting of everything he did. They leave him confused and befuddled.

Highlight Listing:
"Conundrum" - While suffering an unexplained case of amnesia, the crew finds themselves fighting a war they do not remember or understand.
Advertising Headline:
MYSTERY MISSION! Stricken with amnesia, Picard and the crew discover orders to conduct a mysterious war...
TV log listing:
Unexplained amnesia strikes crew on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
Operation SNAFU
While a record search is performed, Deanna's father was listed as "Alex". However, in "The Child", she named her child after Ian, her father's name. (V) When MacDuff is talking to Picard in Picard's ready room, when Picard goes to the window, all you see in the window is the reflection of Picard and the room behind him (not the stars outside), then, when you see MacDuff, in the reflection, leaving the room behind Picard, when the door opens, you don't see the reflection of the bridge, you see stars. Oops! (UV) After Riker's first love scene, a wide-angle-view-pan-to-closeup on the bridge can be seen at the very top of the screen, in the brightly lit area. (UV). Shortly afterwards, in the same scene, MacDuff is walking around and up to the tactical station from his chair, and we can see his legs walk next to Worf's. The camera cuts to Worf, and we see MacDuff approaching Worf. (UV) Also, Beverly Crusher is listed in the crew manifest as a Lt. Cmdr, when her actual rank is Commander. (UV)

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Andrew Tong

Technical design, graphic design, interactive features, HTML & CGI programming by Andrew Tong. || All materials Copyright © 1987-1995 by their respective authors. || Document created: January 28, 1995 || Last Modified: November 09, 2010